Interview with Rodrigo Franzao

I live and work between New Orleans, USA, and São Paulo, Brazil, crafting textile art and mixed media. My creations delve into philosophical and psychological concepts, using fabrics, pigments, and paper. With a diverse education and global exhibitions, my art prompts reflection on life’s intricacies and societal dynamics.

Born: São Paulo, Brazil
Now:  New Orleans, USA
@rodrigo.franzao |


You’ve had quite a journey in your education. Your areas of study included art therapy, art history, and now curating. What were your guiding principles when choosing each course of study?

Each of my educational pursuits was guided by a deep-rooted passion for exploring the intersections of art, psychology, and society. My undergraduate studies in Literature and Arts provided a foundational understanding of cultural expression and human narratives. Building upon this, delving into Art Therapy allowed me to comprehend the profound impact of artistic expression on mental well-being and societal dynamics. Art History and Museology further enriched my understanding of the historical and institutional frameworks within which art operates. Ultimately, these courses of study converged in my pursuit of curating, which stemmed from a desire to not only create art but also to contextualize and share it with others in meaningful ways.

How did your understanding of yourself as an artist evolve and change over time? When did you realize that this was the path you wanted to dedicate years of your life to?

Over time, my understanding of myself as an artist has evolved from a mere creator to a communicator, advocate, and interpreter of human and environmental narratives. The realization that art serves as a powerful tool for social commentary and environmental advocacy profoundly shaped my artistic identity. It was through this realization that I committed myself to dedicating years of my life to using art as a catalyst for introspection, dialogue, and societal change.

Rodrigo, you began actively promoting your work in 2013. That’s when the first publications, group exhibitions, and solo shows started. Which of these events was particularly significant for you?

The year 2013 marked a pivotal moment in my career, as it was when I began actively promoting my work through publications, group exhibitions, and solo shows. Among these events, each held significant importance in shaping my trajectory as an artist. However, perhaps the most impactful was my first solo exhibition, which provided a platform for me to showcase my artistic vision and engage directly with audiences, fostering invaluable connections and feedback.

Your works are striking in their complexity and depth; looking at them feels like being engulfed in a whirlpool of texture and color! Could you talk about the concept behind your creative process and the goals you set for yourself when creating each piece?

My creative process is driven by a desire to explore the complex relationship between humanity and nature, often delving into themes of environmental degradation and the interconnectedness of all living beings. Each piece I create is imbued with layers of meaning and symbolism, inviting viewers to contemplate their own place within the larger tapestry of existence.

My goals extend beyond mere aesthetic expression; I aim to provoke thought, evoke emotion, and inspire action towards a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world.

Could you provide our readers with more details about the materials you’ve chosen as your primary medium?

I predominantly utilize textiles, mixed media, and eco-friendly materials in my artwork. Fabrics, natural pigments, and FSC-certified paper serve as the foundation of my creations, allowing me to imbue each piece with texture, depth, and environmental consciousness. By consciously selecting sustainable materials, I aim to align my artistic practice with principles of environmental stewardship and ethical consumption.

Speaking of artistic goals, you recently delved into the realm of curating and exhibition management. Do you plan to promote Brazilian artists in the USA, where you currently reside?

As someone who straddles the cultural landscapes of both Brazil and the USA, I am deeply committed to promoting the rich diversity of Brazilian artists on an international stage. Through my experiences in curating and exhibition management, I aspire to create opportunities for Brazilian artists to showcase their talent and perspectives to broader audiences, fostering cultural exchange and dialogue across borders.

Lastly, we’d love to hear a few pieces of advice from you for aspiring artists who are still finding their way.

To aspiring artists embarking on their creative journey, I offer the following advice:

Stay true to your unique artistic voice and vision, even in the face of challenges or criticism.

Embrace experimentation and risk-taking, as these are essential for growth and innovation. Cultivate resilience and perseverance, knowing that setbacks are inevitable but also opportunities for learning and refinement. And above all, never underestimate the transformative power of art to inspire change, provoke thought, and foster connections across communities and continents.

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